ARM: Kit Review - DML 1/35 scale Sd.Kfz. 165 Hummel-Wespe

Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/35 scale '39-'45 Series Kit No. 6321; S d.Kfz. 165 Hummel-Wespe; 636 parts (592 in grey styrene, 27 etched brass, 1

1 clear styrene, 3 pre-bent steel wire, 2 DS Plastic track runs, 1 length o f vinyl hose); pre-order price US$64.99 via Dragon USA Online

Advantages: optional version of the Hummel chassis

Disadvantages: unknown

Rating: Unknown

Recommendation: to all German fans

There are times a kit shows up and due to the fact I do not have any refer ences cannot determine the provenance of a specific model.

In this case, while some of the sources indicate that at the prototype sta ge there was a discussion about using the new Gw III/IV chassis for both th e 10.5 cm leFH 18 and the 15 cm sFH 18, in the end it was felt the chassis would be bettered used for the big 15 cm piece and thus the Hummel was born .

Others indicate that towards the end of the war the Hummel ammunition tend ers (the same chassis and vehicle as the Hummel but with ammunition racks o nly and no gun mounting) were hastily fitted with available Sd.Kfz. 124 Wes pe 10.5 cm guns to fill the need for more artillery mounts.

I have no info as to which is true but as this is a late production chassi s it tends to lead to the second story having some truth. Be that as it may, DML has now released a kit of this hybrid system with t heir most recent Hummel kit as the basis (No. 6321) and a new set of some 7

8 parts to provide the 10.5 cm mount and the new gun shields to fit it to t he Hummel interior. The gun also comes with six projectiles but no propella nt charges.

The kit uses the new hull base with sponson floors in place and a new uppe r hull, with a nicely done set of positionable hatches and viewers. As with all Smart Kits most of the detail parts are provided from styrene with opt ional replacements in brass.

The suspension is straight from the Panzer IV "Smart Kits" and as such is easier to assemble than the earlier Panzer IV kits. The "Magic Tracks" are still with us, and the only thing to recall is left bag - left track, right bag - right track as you look at the header card. DML calls them "dark gre y right - light grey left" but too often the colors are not well differenti ated.

As noted the gun is new bespoke tooling based on previous DML 10.5 cm rele ases and this one is based on the leFH 18/40 kit. A new set of shields and side panels is included to mate the new mount up with the Hummel casemate s ides.

The upper hull is completely new. The much maligned louvers of the early k its are now "slide molded" from styrene and separate parts (D29). The walls are also about half the thickness of normal parts (0.050" or 1.25mm seems to have been the default in the past; these are about 0.020" or 0.5mm with thinned edges) and look more like sheet steel parts than plastic.

The 10.5 cm projectiles have a new mold rack, but the old 15 cm ammo locke rs are the only ones provided. The directions seem to indicate that you sim ply cement the covers on and leave them closed so that they do not have to provide the rest of the stowage. This is a bit of a shortcut on DML's part which is a shame.

The kit now sports DS Plastic tracks. Once again I reiterate that modelers who do not wish to spend hours on the tracks prefer the one-piece DS runs, and ones who do not mind the extra work with the Magic Track single link t racks prefer them. DML SHOULD INCLUDE BOTH IN THE KIT TO LET THE MODELER CH OOSE! (Once the track molds are cut the difference is only a few American p ennies per kit.)

Project supervisor was Hirohisa Takada, with technical support from Minoru Igarashi, H3 Design Office, and Dragon engineering; technical assistance p rovided by Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundson.

Decals and finishing directions are included for three guns: Unidentified unit, German 1945 (green over sand, no markings); Unidentified Unit, German y 1945 (tricolor with black crosses); and Unidentified Unit, Germany 1945 ( tricolor, black crosses); the latter two have different schemes for their l ower hulls. A tiny sheet of Cartograf decals is provided.

Overall this is an interesting choice and if the late war story is correct it appears to match well.

Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.

Cookie Sewell

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